Lehi boys basketball gets game-winning 3-pointer to beat Alta
What was going through Lehi junior forward Grayson Brousseau’s head as he took the pass and squared up to the basket from beyond the arc in the final seconds of Tuesday’s monumental Region 8 showdown against top-ranked Alta?
Here are some things he might have been thinking:
- How the Pioneers had led a fourth-quarter lead slip away in a tough 62-55 loss to the Hawks — a team that had only lost once to in-state competition (at Wasatch Academy last week) — in Sandy on Jan. 13.
- How Lehi had a 10-point lead over Alta to start the fourth quarter, only to surrender a 12-0 run and not score in the frame until there were just 45 seconds left.
- How he hadn’t taken a single 3-pointer in the entire game.
- How the final seconds were ticking off and this shot might be the last chance for the Pioneers to win.
What was going through his head?
“We’ve run through that exact same situation in practice a hundred times, so we knew what we were going to do,” Brousseau said. “We knew what it was going to look like, so we ran our play, got to the spots we knew we had to get to and my teammates made the right plays. I just happened to be the guy open.”
Lehi head coach Quincy Lewis, watching from the sidelines, noted that Brousseau showed poise and didn’t panic in the moment.
“When he shot it, you saw him take a deep breath,” Lewis said. “It’s about being good in chaos.”
Brousseau said it felt like the ball was in the air for “an eternity.”
“It felt like it had to have been in the air for a good 30 seconds,” he said with a grin.
But his stroke was perfect and the ball swished effortlessly through the net, putting the Pioneers up by a single point.
“It felt amazing,” Brousseau said. “Especially with that one. It left my hand and felt good. I was like, ‘Please go in!’ and it went in.”
Although five seconds remained, Alta couldn’t get off a shot and Lehi held on to get the 48-47 upset.
“It was great to see us step up in that last minute,” Lewis said. “During each time out, we just kept pushing, saying, ‘hey, we’re going to do this. We’re going to do this.’ Our defense kept it going and gave us a shot.”
The Pioneers played tremendously on the defensive end against a very talented Hawk squad, one that might be the 5A state favorite. Through three quarters, Lehi had held Alta to just 33 points and led by 10.
But the Hawks were too good to go down without a fight and they ramped things up, forcing turnovers and getting buckets. They shut the Pioneers down for more than seven minutes and surged in front.
During that time, Lehi had a tough time getting Brousseau involved. Although he had scored 10 points to be one of the team’s leading scorers, he rarely was even able to get the ball in the fourth.
“We tried to get it to him a few times and we turned it over,” Lewis said.
Brousseau said seeing the Hawks rally was tough, but his squad knew it had to stay strong.
“It’s a chaotic situation but we’ve been in those situations before where we kind of get in a dry spell,” Brousseau said. “We know that if we just stick together and keep our cool that good things are going to happen. We have to just trust each other, trust Coach and the good things are going to happen.”
With Alta up by two, Lehi junior guard Cooper Lewis made a nice pass to get Brousseau free in the lane and he euro-stepped his way to the game-tying layup with 45 seconds to play.
Alta then ran the clock down, took advantage of the Pioneer scramble after a defender slipped and got a layup of its own to retake the lead with 14.3 seconds on the clock.
That set up the drama of the final moments and Brousseau’s big 3-pointer that gave his team the win.
“It was just the most relieving feeling to finally hear that buzzer and know that we were up,” Brousseau said. “It just felt so good.”
Quincy Lewis said that this Lehi team knows what it is capable of but wins like this drive that home.
“We still obviously as you saw in the fourth quarter have a lot of things we can clean up,” Quincy Lewis said. “We’ll go back to work. At the end of the day, this is a nice win, but we’ve got a tough one on Friday.”
Lehi (14-5) will next host Orem on Friday at 7 p.m.